STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT: Welfare Reform Legislation
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                           August 22,

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     On August 22, 1996, I signed landmark bipartisan welfare reform
legislation, transforming our nation?s welfare system into one that
requires work for time-limited assistance. Four years later, we see strong
evidence that this historic change is working: welfare caseloads have been
cut in half, a record proportion of people on welfare are working, and the
businesses in the Welfare to Work Partnership alone have hired more than
one million people off welfare.

     New data released today show that welfare rolls are just half of what
they were four years ago, and the percentage of Americans on welfare is at
the lowest level in 35 years. My Administration will send a report to
Congress today that shows all states have met the welfare reform law?s
overall work requirements in 1999. Moreover, individuals remaining on
welfare are nearly five times more likely to be working than they were in

     I am pleased that since its launch at the White House in May 1997, the
Welfare to Work Partnership has enlisted more than 20,000 businesses who
have hired an estimated 1.1 million former welfare recipients.  As many of
these companies have learned, welfare recipients are productive workers who
want a hand up, not a hand out. With Vice President Gore?s leadership, the
federal government has also done its part, hiring nearly 50,000 former
welfare recipients at a time when the federal government is the smallest it
has been in forty years.

     In four short years, we have seen a new emphasis on work and
responsibility, as welfare recipients themselves have risen to the
challenge and made welfare what it was meant to be: a second chance, not a
way of life. As we celebrate how far we?ve come, we must not forget that
there is still more to do.  Working together, we must build on our progress
and help even more families become self-sufficient.  That is why I am
challenging the Welfare to Work partnership to link even more welfare
recipients, community-based organizations, and employers in communities
around the nation - helping more businesses find qualified workers and more
welfare recipients and other new workers succeed in our booming economy.  I
urge state and local officials to use the resources and flexibility
provided through welfare reform to invest in supports for both current
recipients and low-income working families.  And, I call on Congress to
join me in promoting work and responsibility by enacting my budget
proposals to make work pay, encourage savings, promote responsible
fatherhood, and expand access to child care, housing, transportation and
health care.


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